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UK Government, UK Construction Industry Receive Porter Award, Fiatech’s Highest Honor

San Antonio, TX, March 26, 2013 — Fiatech selected Her Majesty’s Government and the UK construction industry as recipients of its highest honor, the James B. Porter, Jr. Award for Technology Leadership. The award was presented this evening at the J. W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort during the awards gala at the Fiatech Technology Conference & Showcase.

Fiatech, an international community of leadership organizations focused on innovation in the capital projects industry, established the award as a tribute to Jim Porter, retired chief engineer and vice president, safety, health, environment, and engineering for DuPont. He was instrumental in establishing Fiatech in 2000 and is regarded as the group’s most influential leader. The award honors and celebrates Porter's leadership, vision, technical acumen, and commitment to people in advancing the capital projects industry and Fiatech’s goals to increase business value through implementing information technology.

Accepting the award for HM Government and the UK construction industry was David Philp, Head of Building Information Modeling (BIM) Implementation at the Cabinet Office.

In selecting HM Government and the UK construction industry, Fiatech Director Ray Topping noted, “Her Majesty’s Government has shown beyond any doubt its leadership role with its BIM program. The BIM movement in the UK has far-reaching implications. We’re encouraged by the vision of both Her Majesty’s Government and the entire UK construction industry, for that vision has significant impact on the engineering and construction industry on a global scale.”

Her Majesty's Government has encouraged a whole sector approach to BIM through the UK Government Construction Strategy, a four-year program that mandates collaborative BIM on all centrally procured projects by 2016, irrespective of value. The initiative has created BIM communities, including regional BIM hubs throughout the UK, to ensure a common understanding of BIM. The program also is aimed at encouraging BIM use among young engineers as well as small- to medium-sized businesses. Her Majesty’s Government has created collaborative BIM processes, protocols, and data sets for information management for the capital and delivery phases of construction projects using BIM. Additionally, BIM data are now being used for procurement transactions as well as to bridge delivery and operational life cycles.

Jim Porter, whose leadership and vision in the industry helped lead to the establishment of Fiatech, said, “Her Majesty's Government's commitment to creating a world-leading BIM strategy is the leadership needed to move the use of fully integrated and automated project management tools to the next level of deployment. I'm convinced the leveraged impact will accelerate the rate of utilization across the global construction industry and deliver increases in safety, cost, schedule, and quality performance.”

Leaders in the UK were gratified by the recognition. Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said, “The Government’s four-year strategy for BIM implementation will change the dynamics and behaviors of the construction supply chain, and will unlock new, more efficient ways of working. The adoption of BIM by a whole sector places the UK at the vanguard of a new digital construction era and positions the UK as a world leader in BIM.”

Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith said, "we’ve been trailblazing the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), a UK-led digital technology that strips out waste and unlocks new, more efficient ways of working collaboratively across the construction industry – and we’re fast becoming a world leader. By 2016, all central government projects will be BIM-enabled. There’s a real opportunity here for the UK, so to be internationally recognised for our work shows just how we’re delivering on our vision to attract skills and investment  to a new digitally enabled construction sector, as well as benefitting from the competitive edge this capability offers firms competing in a global marketplace.”

Tom Hannigan, president of Zachry Nuclear and a former Fiatech chairman, cited history in the awarding of Fiatech’s highest honor. “Francis Bacon, the British author and statesman, perceptively noted that ‘things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.’ The UK Government’s four-year strategy for BIM implementation exemplifies that philosophy,” Hannigan said. “Innovation, transparency, collaboration, speed, and reliability are pushing out bureaucracy, regimentation, and opaqueness. The UK Government is indeed altering the construction landscape for the better designedly.”

The impact on academia was also felt. Dr. Jorge Vanegas, a Fiatech Board of Advisors member and dean of the college of architecture at Texas A&M University, noted the broad implications for collaboration on the UK’s far-reaching strategy. “Fiatech’s recognizing Her Majesty's Government’s BIM program with our Porter Technology Leadership Award,” he said, “is an exemplar of how the public and private sectors, engaging and working together with academia, can lead to a better world through a built environment composed of capital projects that are conceived, defined, executed, and delivered through collaborative, open, effective, efficient, productive, and advanced processes and technologies for the management of information across all stages of a project.”

Her Majesty's Government and the UK construction industry stand as the fifth recipient of the Porter Award, which is not an annual recognition but one given only when a worthy candidate has been judged to meet the award’s tough criteria by the Fiatech Board of Advisors. HM Government and the UK construction industry join original recipient Jim Porter, Keith Roe of Burns and Roe, John Voeller of Black & Veatch, original Fiatech Director Dr. Richard Jackson, and ENR editor Tom Sawyer as those recognized with Fiatech’s highest honor, the James B. Porter, Jr. Award for Technology Leadership.